Fiction

Coming soon…a Thriller anthology you will love

#Project3 #TitleReveal #BookCoverReveal

Hi all, 

I am a contributing writer in this exciting venture by The Hive.

The Hive is a non-traditional publishing collective. The first anthology was Route 13: Highway to Hell, a horror anthology. 

The anthology experienced tremendous success. More than 200 copies were consumed by eager readers. It might seem like a small number, but it’s not. In the world of self-publishing, these are great numbers, especially for a brand new entity like The Hive. Route 13 topped the horror charts on Amazon new releases for a whopping 6 weeks in a row and remained in top 3 for more than 12.   

Now, The Hive launched #Project3. They invited submissions and nearly 50 entries were received.

All the entries were subjected to a stringent two-round selection process and SEVENTEEN stories were selected to be part of #Project3. I am elated that my story is a part of this exciting anthology.

#Project3 is ‘An Anthology to Thrill,’ and the seventeen stories are going to do exactly that – thrill you, the readers. It has stories about scorned lovers, devious criminals, supercops, sleuths, violence, blood, danger, suspense and, murder. You are going to enjoy this. 

Delighted and proud to present to you the title, cover and release date of #Project3. 

                        BLOOD RUNS COLD 

                    Book Release: 17/07/2020

Why July 17th? Well, it is a very significant day for crime and mystery. 

1. The Romanov family were murdered

2. Erle Stanley Gardner, author of Perry Mason, was born on that day

3. The 100-year war ended with the battle of Castille

4. July 17th is the Day of International Criminal Justice. 

I hope ‘Blood Runs Cold’ gets the same support and love which ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell.’ enjoyed. 

Enjoy!

Yatindra Tawde

Fiction, humour, Uncategorized

Loaded Driving, hic…

Driving around, loaded, had another connotation. It meant, driving under the influence, which resulted in a spell in the lockup. In many cases it is very dangerous for the people sleeping on the road side, as some Cine Stars and a few rich people with their fancy cars, are very well aware. But here, my subject is different. It involves the latest craze, driverless cars. Or rather, the heavy weight category, the trucks. Yes, driverless trucks!!

Yesterday the first driverless truck was put into service after umpteen trials, in, where else, the United States of America! And imagine what would be its cargo. Hundreds of bottles of beer!! Why would anybody take a chance with beer? Why risk invaluable beer for the inaugural driverless drive of a truck. I mean, they could have used some other cargo, as a bait. Maybe, useless stuff like vegetables or grains. But no, they had to transport beer. If, God forbid, the driverless truck had met with an accident. Then all the madira would have gone down the drain, to bestow unexpected happy hours to the denizens of the underworld. But surprise! The driverless truck had a smooth journey to its destination, 200 km. away at a very safe speed of 83 km/hr. The task of transportation without a driver is achieved by a placement of assorted cameras and sensors all around the outside of the truck, giving it a 360 degree exposure. The sensors constantly sense the distance of the truck from any other physical object in its vicinity and the cameras give it vision. In the inaugural journey there was a driver, who remained in a non-driving position well away from the steering wheel. His function was to take over, only in case of an emergency or in case the various auto functions of the truck went kaput. Ultimately, he was proved to be an extra where the hero of the day was the driverless truck, gently escorting the coy beer from the factory to the waiting hands of the beer-bellied denizens of America.

But I shudder to even contemplate about the same scenario in India. At least, such fragile cargos , like beer bottles will not be transported through the driverless trucks. For one there are too many desperadoes in the prohibition states who will find out all the weaknesses of such transport. They will immediately grasp the weakness that such trucks will stop in case they come in front of it. And by the time the road is cleared again, the beer bottles would all have been escorted out from the back of the truck leading to the celebration of the happiest hours by all the forced non-drinking drunkards. So let’s see how the driverless transport story unfolds in India.

Yatindra Tawde

Fiction, Uncategorized

Lunar settlement

Year – 2080…Like every morning, the digital newspaper is delivered to the pod of Mr. Lal. The robot butler, Hargreaves, brings the newspaper to Mr. Lal who is just getting up from bed. He puts on his Google glasses, connects the digital paper to the glasses by Li-fi which is 100 times speedier than that of wifi. For the uninitiated, LiFi is the use of the visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit information at very high speeds (thanks to Google). Its been 10 years since lifi has replaced wifi across the globe. An advertisement catches the eye of Mr. Lal. It says, “A second home for your loved ones in the lap of nature, where man first set foot on the Moon. Exquisite property covered by a solar panelled dome, providing life-giving solar power to the residential cum farming plot inside. 25% discount for the first 100 applications” followed by the contact details. Mr. Lal is very excited and he calls his wife through his telepathic skull implant. The advertisement images and videos are telepathically transferred to the mind of his wife and she too is excited. This advancement in science (telepathic transfer) has been both, a boon and a bane. It has boosted faster communication but at the same time, humans have lost their speaking ability. Just a week back there had been a research published, which said that the vocal cords are slowly getting weaker and in a few generations, may be totally unusable.
Though construction started on the moon 40 years back, it is just 15-16 years since residential complexes started to be built since lot of preparatory work needed to be done, before opening up the moon for ordinary people. Like in the 20th century, when America became the first nation to set foot on the moon, in the 21st century, it was the Americans who first started the construction work on the lunar surface. A huge hue and cry was raised by the other nations on Mother Earth, but Americans were bent upon exploiting the lunar landscape. They did a lot of preparatory work, in terms of providing the right amount of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide along with Nitrogen, by building closed domes under which trial farming was first tried. There were a few failures during the initial period but the Americans are a stubborn people who stuck to the task at hand. Finally, within 10 years, they were able to make a breakthrough, by converting the miniscule amount of hydrogen under the lunar surface, into water by combining with the supplied Oxygen. Though this water was miniscule, the genetically modified seedlings which were developed in the space laboratories, started thriving in the miniscule water and…crops were successfully harvested on the surface of the moon for the first time! This news excited the world scientific community so much, that they started putting pressure on their respective governments to join the American initiative. Soon India became the 2nd nation to land on the moon. And that’s when the fun started!
The Indian government started telecasting the excerpts from the scientists day to day activities. A fall out of this, was the growing interest of the Builder community. Recently the building construction activity in the major cities of India had almost come to a standstill due to a paucity of profitable land in the cities. They had ventured to the tier 2 & 3 towns but had exhausted the potential by exploiting whatever land was available. And there were the usual roadblocks faced, due to inadequate infrastructure in the tier 2 cities. The builder community was hugely loaded, but while some of them had invested their monies in other ventures, there were a few who were itching for new projects, wherever available. And the moon surface presented a new challenge to a few of them. It got the best among them, Mr. Kriplani, thinking on ways to overcome the final hurdle.
So the next time, the Indian shuttle lifted off for the moon, Mr. Kriplani joined the astronauts, after all he had contacts in the highest echelons of the Indian government. Upon landing, he had a tough time adjusting to the reduced gravity of he moon, inspite of the advances made in the space suits. While the professional astronauts were walking comfortably, he was finding it difficult to keep his feet grounded. For Mr. Kriplani, these were but , momentary hurdles, which could easily be overcome by his inexhaustible will power. After all, he had reached a position of immense power, only due to his will power and a never say die attitude.
Mr. Kriplani liked what he saw. Where others saw a desolate landscape, he saw unexplored potential. Where others saw a dull, dark space, he saw a bustling night life. His mind was made up and he had immense persuasive capability to turn, even the most stubborn nay sayers, to his line of thinking. And thus was born, his pet project, “The Moon Arcade”.
This was the very advertisement the Lal’s had seen in the newspaper, which got them excited. They decided to contact the holograph , which was accessible to them through the QR Code on the advertisement. They didn’t waste any time, as soon as they scanned the code, a 3 D hologram of Mr. Kriplani himself, was projected in their room. In his gentle but firm voice, Mr. Kriplani started explaining the salient features of his dream project.
“The Moon Arcade is exactly that. Arcade is a long arched building. And the site of The Moon Arcade is covered by a huge dome. But this dome is not visible, since the inside surface of the dome is covered by a Nano crystal sheet on which high fidelity lighting gives an illusion of the sky. And this lighting is timed to the earth hours, thus the light changes from early morning sunshine to the evening dusk and culminates with the night time starlit sky, which is dominated by the beautiful globe of the earth. This feature itself is worth the money you will pay since you won’t feel that you have left the earth.
Magnetic flooring for maintaining the gravitational equilibrium. You just have to wear the magnetic slippers which are synchronized with the floor.
The Moon Arcade is a huge complex, consisting of 100 twin bungalows, with each bungalow having its own 1/2 acre garden. And the garden is real, made up of real flowering as well as vegetable plants. The plants themselves are genetically modified versions of those available on earth, developed by the scientists in space. Whereas the water for these plants is made locally on the moon.
We have not provided any swimming pool here due to the exorbitant price that this luxury demands on the moon and would have made the entire project unviable for us as well as for discerning customers like you. Instead we provide many unique amenities, which we would be happy to let you experience before you actually buy the Moon property.
How to reach there – daily shuttle service to the moon from the Sriharikota space station. Starts early morning and reaches the moon in 24 hours. The high speed being made possible by the new revolutionary hydrogen based fuel, making space travel economical for commercial flights.
Charges for site visit – only 1/4th of any space tourist flight expenses.
The Lal’s lapped up this offer. The day arrived, the Lal’s reached the Sriharikota space centre from their house in Mumbai, travelling by their Hondafly, a very fuel efficient flying car developed recently by Honda. Immediately on arrival they were ushered into a plush lobby, where their Iris scan and genetic profiling was done. A quick medical scan later, they were both passed for the journey to the moon. They were then taken into a capsule, in which they had to get into special suits, which were very much different and quite light as compared to the very heavy suits, which the very first astronauts wore in the 20th century. As their helmets were bolted in, both of them felt a surge of excitement. They were then strapped into their respective pods, so that the initial force of the space shuttle gets dissipated to some extent. The pods were then closed, and a soothing gas was pumped into it, which kept them conscious but paralyzed all their other movements. In no time, the space shuttle was in stratosphere, and the final thrust of its engines freed it from the earth pull. The Engineers on the flight then released the Lal’s from their pod. As they stepped out, their suit enabled them to stand instead of float. While they saw some minor objects like pens floating due to the zero gravity, most of the other things inside, were firmly attached. Nearing the window, they saw the beautiful arc of the earth, rapidly going farther and farther away as the spacecraft rushed towards the moon. After some time they got bored and sauntered back to their pod to rest. In the meanwhile, the shuttle settled into the moon orbit. On approaching the landing site, the engines gave a final thrust and thus started the descent.
Upon landing, the Lal’s were taken into a Relief Chamber whose sole purpose was to make them used to the changed environment. Though man had tried to modify everything on the moon, to make it more earth-like, he couldn’t have matched the perfection achieved by God. After spending close to 1hour in the Relief Chamber, to acclimatize themselves with the surroundings, the Lal’s were led into a underground passageway, which took them to the “The Moon Arcade”.
As they emerged out of the passageway, the bright light took their breath away. Like it had been explained to them by Mr. Kriplani’s hologram, it did not appear that a dome covered the whole complex. Man had succeeded in creating an illusion of the blue skies and the story book type of cottages on the moon land below, added to the fairy tale setting. And the gardens in front of each bungalow cottage, added to the splendour.
But what the Lal’s were interested in, was the added attractions, of which Mr. Kriplani had given only a brief idea. On probing their accompanying guide about the same, they were enthusiastically led to another underground passageway. All this while they had been in their normal clothing, since all along, they were in a controlled atmosphere, whether in the Relief Chamber or inside the dome. Now, once inside the passageway, they were taken to the “Moon Age” where they were given a spacesuit to wear, which was quite light weight. Once they were securely inside their spacesuit, they were led to the door, which opened to the magical world of the moon.
Once they were outside, the desolate and dark landscape of the moon was a dampener. But what immediately caught their attention, was the Moon mobile, a 20th century era vehicle which the Americans had brought during one of their Apollo missions. To their surprise, they were made to sit in it, and taken on a ride through the pot holed landscape. After enjoying this ride for half an hour, they were taken to the landing site of the Apollo mission, which had first landed on the moon. They could see a prototype of the landing craft, the US flag planted there, as well as the first footprint of man.
After this they were taken to a huge structure, inside which the entire flooring with covered with soft mattresses. This was known as the “Floating Pool”. Once inside, their weight enhanced leggings were removed and they were asked to roam around the structure. As they took their first step, due to the reduced gravitational pull of the moon, they themselves experienced the slow motion walk, which they had always witnessed being taken by the 20th century astronauts. They enjoyed this freedom so much, they were trying to jump and run, their jumps easily touching 25-30 feet in height. For the first time in their life, they could manage to do slow motion cartwheels and they enjoyed all this with child like enthusiasm. By the time, they were tired, they had spent almost 2 hours doing all these antics.
Once they reached the site office of “The Moon Arcade”, they had made up their mind to sign on the dotted line. They were now the proud owners of a Bungalow cottage in “The Moon Arcade”!!
Friends, this scenario may be a reality, if not in 60 years, but surely in the next 100 years.
Yatin

Fiction, Uncategorized

Mumbai of the future

I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my school, IES… Nearby are the iconic colleges, Ruia and Poddar.

The main road in Hindu colony, running parallel to the now defunct railway line, was once lined with huge rain trees… Alas! These trees died off due to some life consuming meallybugs, some 15-20 years back, around 2005-2015.

During my school days and upto 2005, these trees were the cause of envy of my friends, who were not lucky enough to stay in Hindu colony. So many birds species, from the common crow to the pretty parrots, had their home in these very trees. Lots of squirrels bounded along from one branch to another and from one tree to another, chirruping along with gay abondon. During my childhood, I remember a few monkeys too, in these very trees.

Especially from 2010 onwards and by 2020, must of these gentle giants were reduced to stumps. Turned into canvasses for the artists… Grotesquely coloured…
Now there are no ground floor flats in Hindu colony. And this is the state of affairs everywhere in Mumbai, the change started happening since the great flood of July 2005, when most of such flats got flooded and residents had to bear losses worth crores of rupees.

For some, the loss was irreplaceable, what with many of them losing their loved ones. Lot of redevelopment took place, and many such buildings were brought down to be replaced by high rises, having stilt parking. Even my sisters family , who lived in the ground floor flat had to shift to a higher floor.
But the final nail in the coffin for the old way of life of Mumbai, was the year 2018. The month was July… Day was Sunday… As is normal on any Sunday, the day had started lazily. People were reading their Sunday Times, their Sunday DNA.

When suddenly a loud siren went off all across Mumbai. For a few moments the entire city went pin drop silent. From the airport, a few helicopters were flying off in all corners of the city.And huge loudspeakers on the choppers gave out the dreaded warning to the denizens of Mumbai…TSUNAMI!!

Yes, the fear of most Mumbaikars , was finally at their doorsteps. And the citizens living with a view of the Arabian sea were the first to witness the wave. First the waters of the ocean suddenly withdrew far back from even the Bandra-Worli sea link. The skies became dark… And in the distance these citizens could make out a huge wave coming at them.

As it rushed in towards the land, it devoured the sea link, washing it away, as if it were made of Lego bricks. The buildings and koliwadas lining the sea, were the next target of this huge wave, the koliwadas just disappearing in the waters and the buildings, initially acting as a barrier, but then crumbling under the huge weight generated by the water wall.

The waters then rushed into far inland, the cars, buses and other sundry vehicles becoming a party of the debris, causing a loud groaning sound reverberating all across the lovely city, interspersed with the shrieks of the people getting washed away. But by the time, the waters jumped over the lifeline of the city, the railways, it had lost its force, and did not cause much life damage beyond.

Thus my friends and relatives and family , staying in Hindu colony, were spared, but had to bear a huge economic loss. Mumbai lost many lives in this deluge.

And the waters stayed back, it did not withdraw back to the previous boundary between land and sea. Thus the resilient citizens of Mumbai had to learn living in the water, which was touching almost the ceiling of some ground floor flats, still existing in 2018.
So here I am, in 2025, visiting my relatives and friends living in Hindu colony. I came from my current residence in Thane, which, to my good fortune, still on land , but I had to park my car, near the Bhandup creek, and then catch the Uber water taxi.

Yes, now the only way to commute to Mumbai, is through the waters, either by a water taxi like Uber, Meru, etc… Or by the BEST motor boats, which are usually overflowing with people. The wandering, through the lanes of Dadar, is now done in these water taxis.

The long defunct railways, have ceased to exist within Mumbai, and now operate beyond Thane. The bullet trains, introduced in 2016, between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, now operate from Thane.

But hats off to the people of Mumbai, who have converted their city, into Venice of the east. The previous big playgrounds like Shivaji Park, are now huge salt water bodies where people now go for joy rides on the small motor boats, introduced by some entrepreneurs. The city of Mumbai, which was known for its cricketers, is now equally well known for Olympic medal winning swimmers.
Folks did I scare you with my story? But we need to think and plan, otherwise our Mumbai will see such a day, not because of any tsunami, but it could be due to totally man made reasons.
Yatin